Tuesday, January 30, 2007
GURDJIEFFIAN RODNEY COLLIN
A Gurdjieff follower who is said to have held P. D. Ouspensky in his arms as he died, Rodney Collin converted to Catholicism after a papal audience in 1954, but not before founding his own commune near Mexico City, dedicated to following the Gurdjieffian System. His sister-in-law, Joyce Collin-Smith, a noted English astrologer, traveled with Collin to Mexico. According to occult researcher James Webb, some of Collin's notions include
- a belief that in Purgatory time is reversed. "I create the kind of world in which I live...the murderer gives birth to the murdered man and is responsible for the latter's life." This idea was been explored in Philip K. Dick's, sci-fi novel COUNTER-CLOCK WORLD. Dick is a favorite author among the Discordians.
- a need to "develop memory so that it can survive the shock of the transition into the invisible worlds." In other words, keep the memories of your current life after you die--or umm "transition" so that you can take the memories into your next life. Gurdjieff appeared to be concentrating on doing this before he died.
- he saw unity in diversity in the Work where others saw conflicts and divisions. His self-appointed task was one of harmonizing conflicting points of view, and he put his views in a pamphlet called "The Herald of Harmony", in which he claimed his harmonious gospel as the "New Christianity." He also published "The Christian Mystery", which included a "Litany for the Enneagram."
- he believed "Each age had had a messenger sent out by 'the Hierarchy,' which Collin also called 'Great School.' The last age was that of Christ with his message of love; but that age had lacked the element of harmony. Gurdjieff and Ouspensky were the messengers of the polarity on which their work was based."
- he attempted to produce a contemporary version of the Renaissance philosophy of the harmony of the spheres. He believed "the world is one united organism, and man is a corpuscle in the world body." This is essentially Gaia theory.
- he believed that the esoteric parts of all religions are connected.
Apparently he was capable of shape-shifting in the last years of his life. Webb writes:
...one evening in 1954 or 1955 a companion was seated with him in his study. In amazement she saw his features dissolve and reform into an "Oriental" face. The it became difficult for her to focus on the face at all, and it seemed as if Rodney Collin were an old man with a fluffy white beard. "It's only because I haven't shaved for some days," he said. Then his face became that of Ouspensky before shifting rapidly through a succession of unfamiliar masks--some Oriental, some simply unknown. When Ouspensky's image appeared, his companion cried out, "You are Ouspensky!" "Very likely," was the calm reply."
He gathered an odd group around him in Mexico City according to Webb:
Among those who were attracted to the meetings in Mexico City were an Englishman and his Mexican wife. Mrs. D. was a spirit medium, and soon after her arrival in the community at Tlalpam, she began to bring through messages from Ouspensky and Gurdjieff. How are we to account for the fact that the navigator listens to her, unless his radio is not working?
Mrs. D. was an impressive personality and a powerful medium. Her renderings from Gurdjieff and Ouspensky were accompanied by the appropriate manifestations; she would walk like a man, her face would seem to contort into the outline of Gurdjieff's or Ouspensky's, and her voice grew harsh and guttural, even rendering Ouspensky's famous chuckle. She had been known to exhibit the stigmata and, according to some reports, could open the wounds "at will."
In the summer of 1954 when he traveled to Europe accompanied by his wife and Mrs. D, the voices traveled with them.
He started groups in Peru, Chile, Uruguay, and Argentina. He participated in pilgrimages to Mexican shrines, including the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalaupe. As he embraced Catholicism more and more, he gradually moved away from the Gurdjieffian System.
He died by falling from a cathedral bell tower, some say as a suicide, others as an accident or the result of a heart attack. Some believe he gave his life in exchange for the recovery of a crippled orphan who was with him when he fell.
Webb concludes his chapter on Rodney Collin:
After his death Mrs. D. assumed the direction of his Mexican followers. First one, then another, successor was tried; but no one had the magnetism to hold the group together. ...Eventually Mrs. D. founded a Catholic lay order to do good works in Mexico City and became the inspiration of a circle of young Mexican priests. The Chamber of the Moon[Collin's Mexican planetarium] at Tetacala was turned into a Catholic chapel.
Unfortunately Webb doesn't give the name of this order of priests.
The above information was taken from chapter 15, pp 477-496, of James Webb's THE HARMONIOUS CIRCLE, chapter title "The Quest for Harmony", which is devoted to Rodney Collin.